The squadron was formed at RAF Hendon on 1 February 1944 from elements of 512 Squadron. Just two weeks later it moved to RAF Broadwell to work-up as a tactical transport squadron with the Douglas Dakota, the military transport version of the Douglas DC-3 airliner. The squadron's first operations were leaflet raids on France, on the eve of D-Day it dropped the 5th Para brigade into the invasion drop zone (Operation Tonga). On 6 June it towed 21 gliders into France. In the next few weeks it started a casualty evacuation service from France back to England. In September 1944 it was heavily involved in operations at Arnhem, suffering casualties.
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